Señal 3 Cataloging


Our third day at Señal 3 comprised of splitting into three teams to tackle the tasks for the day. I was a part of the inventory team, which continued working through transcribing metadata from the collection of Hi8 tapes into the excel template customized for Señal 3 materials. In addition to assisting with annotations, I began organizing the collection of roughly 300 VHS tapes. These tapes fell into three primary categories: footage documenting the anniversary celebrations of la Victoria, compilation footage and broadcast master tapes that were part of the station’s weekly news programming, and a series of documentaries, films, and segments produced outside of the Señal 3 which were also shown on-air. While not always unique, identification numbers were found on many of these tapes, and often corresponded to one of three hard copy spreadsheets previously generated by Señal 3. We were able to scan these spreadsheets and hopefully we can use OCR software to populate the information into our existing template.


While transcribing the tiny and lengthy transcriptions from the tapes has been painstaking at times, they really speak to dedication of the Señal 3 team. On our first day, Polo told us, “A people without memory are a people without future.” These tapes play an integral role in preserving the memory of the la Victoria community, from protests and police brutality to celebratory parades and baby fútbol matches. It is no wonder then that such time and care was taken to ensure that the content of each compilation tape was annotated on its label and case. It has been a humbling and privileged experience to be a part of this preservation process.


Working with such intimate material has led to further discussions on security and storage. We are currently unsure where the physical collection will reside, as Polo fears that the government could raid the material if kept at the station. Digital storage poses another set of challenges, as it is far more expensive than using tape. Polo is already weary of digital video, as he has had to limit amount of saved footage from more recent broadcasts due to space. Eddy Colloton, who has been working on setting up the digitization station, is also concerned that the uncompressed, 10-bit digitization standard will produce files too large for the limited amount of space the station has. We will need to work with Polo to identify a format that will work best for him.


Participating in the inventory workflow has been an extremely valuable tool for familiarizing ourselves with the metadata template, which we will have to modify and simplify for the community archiving workshop that will be hosted in la Victoria this upcoming Saturday. We just learned that we will be using 200 U-matic tapes from the collection of Juan Pablo Salas, a prominent video journalist known for his documentation of the Chilean resistance during the time of the Pinochet dictatorship. We also learned that the workshop will be held at Señal 3 instead of a much larger community space, so it will be interesting to see how that goes!

Oh! We were able to get our vectorscope and waveform monitor up and running! More to come on our digitization station!

––Ayshea Khan


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